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Reducing Phantom Power: Tips to Save Energy and Save Money

Phantom power is energy that is used by appliances and electronics even when those items appear to be off. According to the book “Save the Earth for Ten Bucks,” televisions still use half the energy when off as they do when on! With only a few simple actions, it’s easy to be sustainable and save money.

Phantom power

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Use Power Strips

Power strips are a great way to reduce phantom power usage. Any location where multiple appliances or electronics are clustered is a great candidate for power strip usage. Kitchen appliances with clocks or timers all use phantom power. Add a power strip on the countertop and turn it on only when an appliance is in use.

Use two separate power strips at the computer – one for essentials like the computer, monitor and router that is turned on each time the computer is used, and another for printers, speakers, external drives, webcams and other peripherals that can remain off unless being used.

Entertainment and media cabinets are also prime candidates for power strips. Plug TiVo or other DVRs directly into the wall, so as not to disrupt recordings, but plug televisions, amplifiers, VCRs, DVD and other recordable media players into a power strips. Boomboxes, iPod docks and other stereo components can use a power strip as well. Anything that uses a remote control uses power to maintain a “ready state” to receive remote commands, so when possible prioritize these for power strip usage.

Smart power strips are also available that sense when items are not in use or have gone into standby mode and cut the power supply.

Smart power strips By Citizens Utility Board

Unplug Chargers

Chargers continue to draw power even when not in use. Be sure to unplug and store cell phone chargers, Bluetooth chargers, rechargeable battery docks, camera chargers, cell phone cradles and more. Use small zip ties or rubber bands to fold up and extra wire beyond what is needed to reach from the outlet to the counter or charging area – this will make it easier to keep cords from tangling and find the correct charger.

Computer chargers (or really anything with a power adaptor in the cord) continue to draw power, even when the electronic device has reached full charge. Plug items in after work and unplug before bed, rather than leaving items to charge overnight.

Plug Chargers

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Just taking a few minutes to enact these few simple changes around the house can help reduce phantom power usage, contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and save money — a win-win-win situation for everyone!


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